No. 11-Seeded Cal Faces No. 6-Seeded Georgia in Athens Super Regional
May 26, 2010
Friday, May 28
2 p.m. ET - Game one: Georgia (home) vs. California (away)
Cal Series Record vs. Bulldogs: 1-0
Last Meeting: W, 3-0 (2/14/99)
Saturday, May 29
Noon ET - Game two: California (home) vs. Georgia (away)
2:30 p.m. ET - Game three (if necessary): California vs. Georgia (if necessary)
(home team to be determined by a coin flip)
*All times Eastern.
BERKELEY - After winning sweeping the Columbus Regional to win its 11th Regional title in the past 12 years, the No. 11-seeded California softball team has a new task at hand in No. 6-seeded Georgia at the Athens Super Regional. The Golden Bears (44-17) will take on the Bulldogs (43-11) in a best-of-three series for a ticket to the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City. Game one is slated for Friday, May 28 at 2 p.m. ET and will be shown on ESPNU while game two (Saturday, May 29 at noon ET) and game three (May 29 at 2:30 p.m. ET), if necessary, will both be shown on ESPN.
Columbus Regional Rundown
-With the win, Cal improves to 44-17 overall, 60-31 in Regional games and 81-55 overall in the NCAA postseason.
-Jolene Henderson threw a perfect game against Bucknell, the first for her and the first for a Bear in the postseason.
-Henderson's ERA dropped .10 points after her perfect game versus Bucknell and a four hitter against Kentucky.
-Valerie Arioto and Elia Reid both hit a team-high .571 in Columbus.
-Arioto homered in each of the three games for a squad-leading seven RBI.
-The Bears are wearing a BW sticker on their helmets in honor of the Friends of Jaclyn adoptee Bebe.
Cal in the Postseason
-This marks the 25th season the Bears are playing in the postseason.
-Cal has advanced to the regional championship games for the fifth time in six years since the Super Regional format was adopted six years ago.
-Last year, Cal won the Florida State Regional, defeating Mississippi State once and Oklahoma State twice, but the Bears were swept by No. 1-seed Florida at Super Regionals in Gainesville, Fla.
-The Bears are 54-31 in regional games and 75-53 overall in the NCAA postseason.
-Three consecutive WCWS title game appearances (2002-04, national champions in 2002).
-The 2002 NCAA national title was the first by any women's team at Cal.
-Cal has appeared in seven of the last 11 NCAA WCWS and 10 overall, including three trips to the AIAW College World Series.
-The Bears are 44-17 overall and finished 10-11 in the Pac-10 Conference (tied for fourth).
-The fourth-place tie is the highest conference finish since 2003, when the Bears were third.
-Cal has not had a losing season since 1973 - a span of 35 years.
-Cal played 16 of the tournament's teams this year, posting a 19-16 record against them.
-The Bears bring a seven-game winning streak to Athens after sweeping Oregon State and the Columbus Regional.
-Jolene Henderson (1.53 ERA, 0.59 ERA in nonconference play) and Valerie Arioto (1.26 ERA, 260 strikeouts) have split time in the circle.
-Five of Cal's starters are batting .300 or above with Jamia Reid pacing the Bears at .389 and 48 steals.
-Diane Ninemire is in her 23rd year as the Cal head coach and recently won her 1,000th career game.
-Cal's 285 RBI is a new program team season high, smashing the old record of 279, which was set in 2008.
Regional Game One - Cal: 10, Bucknell: 0
After a slight rain delay, the No. 11-seeded California softball team lived up to its billing with a 10-0 mercy win over Bucknell on May 21 in the NCAA regional at Ohio State's Buckeye Field. Freshman hurler Jolene Henderson threw the first perfect game of her Cal career, fanning 10 batters. It was also the first perfect game for any Bear in the postseason. Henderson pitched five innings with no walks or hits for that perfect-game status that had eluded her this season. The 10 strikeouts were one shy of her season high of 11. Junior first baseman Valerie Arioto and sophomore outfielder Elia Reid each homered to power the Bears to their eight-run third inning. The Bears jumped to an early 2-0 lead in the first thanks to a Jamia Reid hit and two Bison errors. The game came crashing down for Bucknell in the bottom of the second, when Cal scored eight runs off of eight hits. The scoring barrage continued when Jamia Reid doubled to left, plating Elia Reid, who had singled. With Reid and Thomas, who also singled, aboard, Arioto homered to left to give Cal a 6-0 lead. In the same inning, Elia Reid came back up to the plate and sent the ball flying to center for a three-run homer, distancing the Bears for good at 10-0.
Regional Game Two - Cal: 1, Kentucky: 0
Thanks to Valerie Arioto crushing her 18th home run of the season in the top of the first, the No. 11-seeded California softball team defeated Kentucky, 1-0, on May 22 on the second day of the Columbus Regional. Freshman Jolene Henderson, fresh off a pitching a perfect game on Friday, earned the win, allowing just four hits and striking out five. After two pop ups - Jamia Reid and Shannon Thomas - began the top of the first, Arioto sent a pitch flying over the wall in center field, giving Cal an early 1-0 lead. Kentucky made things interesting with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. Left fielder Annie Rowlands singled singled up the middle and designated player Kara Dill walked. Freshman pitcher Jolene Henderson struck out Kentucky's leadoff hitter in Molly Johnson for the final out of the game. Arioto and Elia Reid had Cal's two hits of the game.
Regional Game Three - Cal: 7, OSU: 0
After posting a 1-0 lead in the top of the first thanks to a single by Valerie Arioto, the No. 11-seeded California softball team rained five runs on Ohio State in the top of the second to defeat the Buckeyes, 7-0, on Sunday afternoon to win the Columbus Regional. For the third and final game of the Columbus Regional, the Bears shut out their opponent, this time shellacking host Ohio State for seven runs off 10 Cal hits and two OSU errors at Buckeye Stadium. With the win, the Golden Bears (44-17 overall, 3-0 in the 2010 postseason) roll onto Super Regional play while the Buckeye season concludes at 39-14. Arioto pitched the complete-game shutout, allowing just two hits. With the Bears leading, 1-0, thanks to an RBI single by Arioto that plated Jamia Reid, sophomore center fielder Frani Echavarria reached on an error and scored when Elia Reid singled up the middle. It was then Shannon Thomas' turn for an RBI with the Bears leading, 2-0. With Sevilla at third and Elia Reid at second, Thomas singled into left field, and the ball bounced a few feet into foul territory with both Sevilla and Reid coming around to score. It was then, with her Bears up, 4-0, that Arioto gave herself and the Bears an even bigger cushion. Arioto hit her 19th homer of the year, the third of the Columbus Regional and the 31st of her career to bring the score to 6-0. In the top of the fifth, Echavarria doubled and Sevilla singled to score Echavarria, giving Cal its final 7-0 lead.
Flashback - Cal: 3, Georgia: 0
In the teams' first meeting, which occurred at the Arizona State Fiesta Bowl Tournament on Feb. 14, 1999, Cal defeated Georgia, 3-0. Bear pitcher Nicole DiSalvio nearly had her second no-hitter of the season. DiSalvio, who tossed a perfect game in the season-opening 8-0 win over San Jose State, did not allow a Georgia base hit until two were out in the seventh inning. She finished with a one-hitter to up her record to 4-0 on the year. Against the Bulldogs, the Bears offensive punch came from center fielder Amber Phillips, who hit her first career home run, a solo shot to lead off the second inning
Cal Places Four on Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I All-Region Team
Four Bears can add another highlight to their athletic resume with placement on 2010 Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I All-Pacific Team. Junior utility Valerie Arioto, freshman pitcher Jolene Henderson and sophomore outfielder Jamia Reid all made the All-Pacific First Team while senior second baseman Shannon Thomas was selected for the second team. The all-region teams were chosen by NFCA member coaches from each region, and all the honorees will now be eligible for selection to the Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-America first, second or third teams. In addition, conference pitchers and players of the year not selected to the regional teams were added for All-America consideration.
Nine Bears Named to All-Pac-10 Teams
Nine members of the California softball team were selected for various All-Pac-10 Teams, the conference office announced May 19. Valerie Arioto and Jamia Reid paced the Golden Bears by being named to the first team while Jolene Henderson were placed on the second team. Sophomore outfielder Frani Echavarria, senior shortstop Taylor Kelly, senior infielder Vernae Sevilla, senior second baseman Shannon Thomas, sophomore utility Jace Williams and freshman catcher Lindsey Ziegenhirt were all given honorable mentions. Additionally, Henderson and Ziegenhirt were named to the All-Freshmen Team. All-Pac-10 honors are determined by a vote of the eight head coaches in the Pacific-10 Conference. There are 14 players named to the first team and 14 to the second team. The All-Freshman team also consists of 14 honorees.
Cal on the National Scene
-The Bears' collective 1.63 ERA ranks them first in the conference and ninth in the country.-Valerie Arioto's 1.31 ERA is third in the Pac-10 and 16th in the country.-Jolene Henderson's 1.66 ERA is 38th in the nation and fifth in the conference.-Jamia Reid ranks second in the country with an average of 0.87 steals per game.-Arioto issues an average of 9.2 strikeouts per seven innings, which is second in the conference and 29th in the country.-Shannon Thomas is second in the Pac-10 with .51 steals/game for 47th in the nation.-Arioto averages 1.28 walks per game, which is second in the nation behind only Georgia Tech's Jen Yee, who averages 1.45.-Arioto's .583 slugging percentage is sixth in the nation and second in the Pac-10.
The 2010 season has been a historical one for four Bears - Valerie Arioto, Jamia Reid, Shannon Thomas and Lindsey Ziegenhirt - either setting new records or moving up on the career and single-season lists at Cal. Arioto is third in career runs (156), third in career homers (31) and second in career walks (166). She is currently tied with Veronica Nelson for the single-season home-run high with 19, now holds the season record for runs (60) and RBI (60) and is currently fifth on season walks with 77. Shannon Thomas is fourth on the single-season list with 31 steals, behind her 33 steals last season. Thomas is fourth with 64 career steals. Jamia Reid surpassed her own record with 48 steals this season, one more than last year's total (47). She still holds first place on the career list with 93. Reid is also currently fourth on the single-year with 77 hits this season. With 15 homers in only her freshman campaign, Lindsey Ziegenhirt is tied for fourth on the single-season home-run list.
Sophomore outfielder Frani Echavarria has improved by leaps and bounds from her freshman campaign. Last season, Echavarria finished the year with a .193 batting average after starting 49 of Cal's 58 games. This year, the Riverside, Calif., native is batting .337, good for third on the team. She's also slugging .427, placing her fourth amongst the Bears, and has 24 RBI to her credit.
Reid + Thomas = Lethal One-Two Combo
Jamia Reid is earning her keep in the lead-off spot with her team-high .389 batting average and slapping ability in addition to a .407 on-base percentage, which is fourth on the team. Batting behind her is Shannon Thomas, who leads the conference with 15 sacrifice bunts. When you factor in that Reid paces the Pac-10 with 48 steals and Thomas is right behind her with 31, you get a deadly combination in the first and second spots in the Cal line-up.
ASA Top-10 Watch List: Arioto
Valerie Arioto has been named one of the best 10 players in the nation, making the cut for the top-10 contenders for the Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA)'s watch list for the ninth annual USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award. This award, which is considered the most prestigious honors in Division I women's collegiate softball, is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country. The winner will be announced at the opening of the NCAA 2010 Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City. Similar to last year, in 2010, Arioto was named to the top-50 and top-25 list, but this is the first time she has progressed to the highly competitive and widely respected top-10 finalist list.
Freshman pitcher Jolene Henderson has made a seamless transition into Division I softball. In nonconference play, Henderson has a 0.59 ERA, allowing just 10 earned runs in 118.0 innings of work. Overall, Henderson is sixth in the Pac-10 with her current 1.55 ERA. She is also third in the league with 70 looking strikeouts.
Fastest Feet in the Conference
For the entirety of the season, the Bears have topped the Pac-10 in stealing. Cal recorded a conference high of 129 steals, far above second-place Stanford's 82. They are also first in attempts at 146 - 50 more than their closest competitor in reigning national-champion Washington, which has 96. Jamie Reid paces the Bears with 48 steals in 57 attempts.
Arioto's 20-20 Vision
Valerie Arioto continues to lead the conference and team in walks, a total of 77 through 61 games. Her 77 free passes to first base places Arioto in sole possession of first place in the Pac-10 with the nearest competitor 23 walks behind in second place (Stacie Chambers, ASU, 54 walks).
J. Reid: Speed and Talent
Jamia Reid is an all-around scoring threat for the Bears. The sophomore outfielder is hitting a squad-leading .389, which is eighth in the conference, and has started 55 of Cal's 61 games in 2010. She also has a team-best 77 hits, which puts her second in the league. Furthermore, she is first on the team and in the Pac-10 with 48 stolen bases to her credit in 57 attempts. In 2009, Reid finished the season with 47 steals, which was tops in the Pac-10 and was third in the nation per game.
Come on Niner, Hit a Liner
Redshirt sophomore Jace Williams has made an impact in her first year in a Cal uniform after transferring from Washington after the 2008 season. Williams is fifth amongst the starters, batting .299 and slugging .447. She is tied with two others for fifth in the Pac-10 with 12 doubles. Her 40 walks place her second with the Bears and fifth in the conference.
Z for Ziegenhirt
In only her freshman season, Lindsey Ziegenhirt has solidified her stature as a fixture in the Cal line-up. Starting all 61 games behind the plate as catcher for the Bears, Ziegenhirt is second on the squad in total bases (113), doubles (12), slugging (.563), RBI (58) and homers (15). Her 58 RBI put her in a tie with Danielle Lawrie for fourth in the Pac-10 and her 15 roundtrippers place her in a three-way tie for eighth in the conference. In addition to her work over the Beavers, Ziegenhirt was instrumental in Cal's first conference series sweep at Arizona State, hitting four home runs. She finished that weekend with a 1.600 slugging average with six RBI.
How Does This All Work?
The Bears are one of 64 teams who will be competing at 16 regional sites in the first round double-elimination Regionals. The top 16 teams were seeded in order, and the remaining teams were placed in regional brackets to create balanced competition and avoid conference match-ups, when possible. The regional winners will advance to super regional competition for a best-of-three series at eight campus sites. The eight teams that win the Super Regionals will advance to the WCWS, an eight-team, double-elimination tournament. The championship final will be a best-of-three-series. The WCWS will be conducted May 28 to June 3 at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.
The Bears finished in a two-way tie with Arizona State for fourth place in the nation's strongest softball conference. Cal's 10 conference wins equal last season's total, which was the most for the team since 2006. This year is the 15th time the team has logged double-digit victories in Pac-10 play. This is the highest finish in the conference for the Bears since 2003, when they were third. Seven of the Pac-10's eight softball teams advanced to this season's NCAA Tournament.
Talk of the Polls
For each week this season, the Bears were recognized as one of the top-25 teams in the nation, being ranked in each of the national polls. Cal's highest ranking in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll was 11, which it was given in the preseason poll and held the spot for the first two weeks of the season. The USA Today/NFCA poll named the Bears the No. 12 team in the preseason poll, and Cal spent two weeks (Feb. 16 and May 11) in the 12th spot.
Jamia Reid: All-Time Steals Leader
Only halfway through her sophomore season, Jamia Reid became the new California career leader in steals when she stole her 75th base on March 13 at home versus Cal State Fullerton, breaking a record that stood for 17 years. Tallying 47 steals in her freshman campaign (2009) and 48 as of May 25, 2010, for her current career total of 95, Reid well surpasses Keri Kropke (1990-93), who had 74. The 48 steals thus far this season are a new single-season high, besting her previous record of 47.
The Future of the National Team
Valerie Arioto and Jamia Reid have been placed on the 2010 USA Softball Women's Futures National Team. Arioto and Reid join 16 other athletes on the team, which includes both USA Softball rookies and those with national team experience and consists of athletes who currently play or have played at 13 schools in six Division I conferences. The Futures Team derives its name from the talent that could make up the women's senior national team in years to come. The squad will kick off the season with exhibition games against the senior national team in Canton and Ashland, Ohio from June 16-17. They will also compete against the national teams of Canada, Japan and the USA at the 2010 World Cup of Softball. That tournament will be held July 22-26, at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.
Jolene for the Save
With her work against Santa Clara, freshman right hander Jolene Henderson earned her third save. This moved her into a five-way tie for third place in single-season saves. The Elk Grove, Calif., native needs two saves to mount her tally to five to tie for fourth on the career saves list.
Shannon's Stealing Her Way Into the Records
With her 31 steals thus far in 2010, Shannon Thomas is now in sole possession of fourth place on the single-season stolen-base list. Thomas' 33 steals last season are third while Jamia Reid holds down the first and second spots with 48 in 2010 and 47 in 2009, respectively. On the career list, Thomas is fourth with 64 bags.
Cal Softball Honors Friends of Jaclyn Adoptee
Before the then-No. 16/13 California softball team upset then No-3 Arizona, 8-0, on May 2, the Bears took time to give back to their community. Through the Friends of Jacyln Foundation, the Cal softball team has adopted Bebe, a local child with pediatric cancer. The Friends of Jaclyn Foundation (FOJ) is a non-profit, charitable organization that improves the quality of life for children with pediatric brain tumors and their families. Prior to the game, Bebe, whose full name is Barbara, and her mother, Nancy, who graduated from Cal, and her father, Geoff, gathered in front of the 439 fans in attendance at Levine-Fricke Field. Geoff threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Due to the all-consuming treatments that Bebe has been receiving in Texas, this game was the first opportunity that she and her family had to meet the Bears and watch the team play. Following the 8-0 mercy win in six innings, the family met with the players on the field. The Bears signed their autographs, posed for a photo and gave their encouragement to Bebe and her family. In the future, the Cal softball team hopes to further its involvement with Bebe. FOJ matches a child in need of love, support and friendship with a college or high school sports team, and the child becomes an extension of the team. After the adoption is completed, the child becomes an extension of the team and a unique bond is formed between the team members, the child and the family.
Ziegenhirt Named Muscle Milk Student-Athlete of the Week
Lindsey Ziegenhirt was instrumental in Cal's first conference series sweep at Arizona State, hitting four home runs. She finished the weekend with a 1.60 slugging percentage and six RBIs, making the freshman catcher the Muscle Milk California Student-Athlete of the Week for the week of April 19. Ziegenhirt homered to left, jump starting the Bears, who went on to win, 3-1, halting a three-game losing skid. In the middle match on April 17, Ziegenhirt smashed her 11th and 12th roundtrippers of the season to lead the Bears to an 8-0 win. On April 18, after battling through seven pitches, Ziegenhirt homered to distance the Bears, 8-3, in the series finale that would end with an 11-3 Cal win.
Arioto to Play in Canada, Japan
Valerie Arioto was named one of 20 athletes who will represent the United States this summer at competitions and exhibitions in Canada and Japan. The athletes, who are members of the 2010 USA Softball women's national team and the Women's Future National Team, will participate in three events over two months. Arioto and the 19 other players will play at the Canadian Open Fast Pitch International Championship, from July 7-11, in Surrey, British Columbia. There will be several exhibition games held July 13 and 14 in Whitehorse, Yukon. In August, Arioto and her teammates will make a return to Japan for the Japan Cup from Aug. 3-9 in Sendai City, Japan. At last year's Japan Cup, Arioto was part of the USA Softball squad that earned the gold medal, sweeping through the tournament, winning all four of their games in the tournament. Arioto had an RBI in the first meeting against Japan, getting hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, driving in the first run of the game. Arioto also hit a solo home run against Chinese Taipei.
Valerie Arioto Named Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week
After she pitched two complete-game wins, Valerie Arioto was named the Pac-10 Conference's Pitcher of the Week for the week of March 9. In her superb outing in the circle in the 6-0 win against New Mexico State (March 5), Arioto gave up just one hit and three walks while striking out half (13) of the batters she faced (26). The Aggies hit a collective .047. The Pleasanton, Calif., native led Cal to a 7-0 win over Portland State (March 6) thanks to her three-hit performance in seven innings of work, allowing just a .115 opponent batting average. Arioto finished the weekend with 14 innings of work under her belt, allowing four hits for an opponent average of .081, giving up no runs for a 0.00 ERA and fanning a total of 23 batters. For Arioto this is also her first Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honor and the 62nd all-time for the Bears.
Ninemire Watch 2010: 1,000 Wins
Thanks to Cal's 6-0 win over Sacramento State on April 7, Cal head coach Diane Ninemire achieved an impressive career milestone with her 1,000th career win. Ninemire is the ninth coach in the history of Division I softball to notch 1,000 wins. Already the winningest coach - male or female - in all of Cal history for any sport, Ninemire and is in her 23rd year as the Bears' head coach. Ninemire has overseen countless players, including 25 All-America selections, 146 All-Pac-10 players, 44 academic All-Americans and 86 All-Region choices. Ninemire won her first game at the helm of the Bears on Feb. 15, 1988, with a 2-0 decision over Pacific in only her second game as a head coach. All of her head coaching experience has been at Cal, where she has registered 22 winning seasons and 22 consecutive trips to the postseason. Ninemire also led Cal to a Women's College World Series title in 2002, which was the first NCAA championship for any women's team in Cal history.
Drewrey Striking Out the Record Holders
Thanks to her 20 strikeouts, which she notched halfway through the 2010 season, senior Marissa Drewrey has moved into the top-five of all-time strikeout leaders at Cal. With 644 career strikeouts to her credit, she displaced Whitney Floyd, who had 628. Coming into this year with 624 Ks, Drewrey earned her 629th strikeout in her first appearance of the season on Feb. 13, 2010 against Michigan State to pass Floyd's 628.
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Top of the Rankings to Ya!
In the preseason rankings, the Bears fared quite well. Cal was ranked 11th in the country, according to the ESPN.com/USA Softball preseason poll after finishing in the 12 spot in the final 2009 ranking. During the 2010 regular season, the Bears faced off against at least nine of the other 24 teams in that poll, including defending national champion Washington. The Bears were ranked No. 12 in the USA Today/NFCA Preseason Poll.
Bears on the National Team Scene
Vicky Galindo, a three-year letterwinner for the California softball team, accepted a spot on the U.S. national team and current junior standout Valerie Arioto was named an alternate, the ASA announced recently. Arioto and Galindo attended the 2010 softball women's national team selection camp, which was held in Chula Vista, Calif., from Jan. 4-8. Galindo was one of 17 athletes who was offered a USA Softball Athlete Agreement for the 2010 season. The squad will be competing in the ISF Women's World Championships, held June 23-July 2 in Caracas, Venezuela.